The March Of The Women

Words & Music: Ethel Smyth, 1911

At the beginning of this century thousands of women in England were marching for the right to vote, keeping in step by singing The March Of The Women, composed in 1911 by musician and suffragette Ethel Smyth. Having learned of this song’s existence we found it very hard to locate. A copy turned up in a regional library in England, and it even had harmonies for male singers!

Lyrics

Shout, shout, up with your song!
Cry with the wind for the dawn is breaking;
March, march, swing you along,
Wide blows our banner, and hope is waking.
Song with its story,
Dreams with their glory,
Lo! they call, and glad is their word!
Forward! Hark how it swells,
Thunder of freedom, the voice of the Lord!

Long, long we in the past
Cowered in dread from the light of heaven,
Strong, strong, stand we at last,
Fearless in faith and with sight new-given.
Strength with its beauty,
Life with its duty,
Hear the voice, oh hear and obey!
These, these, beckon us on,
Open your eyes to the blaze of day!

Comrades, ye who have dared
First in the battle to strive and sorrow,
Scorned, spurned, nought have ye cared,
Raising your eyes to a wider morrow.
Ways that are weary, days that are dreary,
Toil and pain by faith ye have borne;
Hail, hail, victors ye stand,
Wearing the wreath that the brave have worn!

Life, strife, these two are one,
Naught can ye win but by faith and daring;
On, on, that ye have done
But for the work of today preparing.
Firm in reliance,
laugh a defiance,
Laugh in hope, for sure is the end.
March, march, many as one,
Shoulder to shoulder and friend to friend!

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